MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On April 11, 2018, Minnesotans were preparing for what would be the biggest April snowfall in Twin Cities history. One year later, they’re digging out from 8 inches of snow.

So, how common are April snowstorms? Good Question.

“Very rarely do we see average in April,” Pete Boulay, an assistant state climatologist, said. “We’ve had years with zero and years with 20 inches of snow.”

On paper, April is far from the Twin Cities’ snowiest month. The average snowfall is 2.4 inches.

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Over the past 100 years, the patterns of April snow have changed. For the first 70 of those years, many Aprils had between 5 and 10 inches of snow. Since 1998, there have been bigger peaks separated by more years of little snow. For example, last April’s nearly 16-inch storm followed three Aprils with just traces of snow.

“What’s been missing lately is in-the-middle April,” Boulay said.

Boulay says he wouldn’t call these April storms a “new normal” quite yet, but says it’s clear Minnesota has seen larger April snow storms in recent years.

“They still happen relatively enough to tell if it’s a pattern,” he says. “You couldn’t predict next April, for instance.”

What the patterns do tell him is that after April 15, the chances of a big snow become drastically smaller.

Heather Brown